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World's First Patient-Controlled Nasopharyngeal Swab Robot for COVID-19 Testing Reduces Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Sep 2020
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Image: SwabBot (Photo courtesy of Biobot Surgical Pte Ltd)
Image: SwabBot (Photo courtesy of Biobot Surgical Pte Ltd)
A new robot for automated COVID-19 swab test could provide a solution to protect and reduce the risk of exposure faced by healthcare workers to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Biobot Surgical Pte Ltd (Singapore) has developed the SwabBot, a robot for automated swab, to address the challenges of COVID-19 swab test. In addition to protecting and reducing the healthcare workers’ risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus, it also standardizes the consistency of swabs taken while providing greater throughput of swab tests.

The SwabBot is a robot which allows individuals to self-administer the swabbing process. By pushing the chin and face forward against activation button, it activates the robot which gently inserts a swab stick through the nose to the back of the nasal cavity. The duration of the swab takes only 20 seconds. To ensure the safety of the individual, the robot has a built-in feature which retracts the swab stick if there is resistance in moving deeper into the nasal cavity.

“When we developed the SwabBot, we envisaged a self swabbing device that could be deployed and used, similar to how self check-out systems are now prevalent in the supermarkets. This should be especially effective for rostered routine testing and reduce manpower involved in swabbing operations,” said Mr. Sim Kok Hwee, CEO of Biobot Surgical.

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